Tag Archives: LGBT

Trump Supporters: This guy is walking away with love

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I’ve spent the day alone reflecting and emoting and trying to work through my bitterness about this historically stupid election. While I think it is important to be humble and gracious in defeat, this one is a little different. We could say that the “people have spoken” and in a sense, they have. Donald Trump won the electoral college. He lost the popular vote by a narrow margin. So… it is arguable exactly how the people have spoken. Regardless, the fact remains that half of America voted for a man who is unbelievably discriminatory and the ramifications of his victory will likely have significant effects for decades.

I won’t speculate on his economic, environmental, and foreign policies (The proof will be in the proverbial pudding on those, and we will now see, once again, what effect unintelligent policy will have in those areas)… Instead, I will focus on why this loss has devastated me personally, and what I intend to do with it…

My entire life I have watched and listened as my rights as a gay American citizen have been flippantly bandied about, as though my rights, my opportunities, my protections under the law are somehow secondary in importance to others. I have smiled uncomfortably during casual conversations wherein members of my own family laughed and gloated about the fact that they started a bar fight by randomly calling fellow patrons “faggots.” I have been gracious and laughed ala courtesy as off-color, unfunny jokes were made that are reductive and perpetuate harmful stereotypes. I have tried tirelessly to be likable and agreeable, often being overly kind, so as to win love and approval, and aspects of that I will never change.

You see, while it may be surprising to some, there is nothing inherently different about me. I like to think I am strong, but if you cause harm it will hurt. I like to think I am confident in my abilities, but my self-doubt and insecurity is oftentimes crippling. I go through life searching for happiness and fulfillment with my own unique set of strengths, weaknesses, and adversities, and I do the best I can with it. Just like everyone does. And I’ve had some pretty awesome victories, some pretty devastating defeats, and I’ve done the only thing I know to do throughout it all: The best I possibly can. Does this sound familiar? It should. It should sound familiar to every single person who will ever read this, regardless of their race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, political affiliation, etc. This is part of the elusive human condition that we are all trying to understand.

One thing, however, that will always separate me from others is when I see them engage in bigotry, violence, and destruction. Supporting a candidate who has made endless statements that are undeniably hateful, homophobic, transphobic, racist, sexist, xenophobic, cacomorphobic, is exactly that – bigoted, violent, and destructive. And I will no longer surround myself with those who find any of these things justifiable. Instead, I will be out in the world, offering as much love and support as I can, trying to make a good life for myself, and paying more taxes than Donald Trump.

I want to offer my sincerest condolences to all of those who were directly impacted by this mistake of an election, specifically my LGBTQIA family. Just remember, we are strong and we will get through this and make things right with love, not with fear. When they go low, we go high.

I Was Wrong. Bernie Sanders Deserves Your Gay Vote

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At the risk of being branded a “Bernie Bro,” and being banished to internet troll damnation for all eternity, I feel we must take a second to acknowledge that Senator Bernie Sanders deserves the gay vote. Yes, I know. Having made that statement, I must now be a reckless leftist who would rather see a reptile like Trump or Cruz in the White House than cast my vote for Hillary Clinton, right? Wrong.

In a previous piece, I championed both candidates, and applauded their rhetoric as a far cry from the hateful, bigoted, violent tone we’ve seen throughout Republican rallies and debates. The truth is, we would ALL be remiss to not cast our vote for the democratic nominee in the upcoming election, whether it ends up being Sanders or Clinton. But since we are still in the primaries, and political discussion is far more worthy of internet time than food porn or Throwback Thursdays (which I love, don’t get me wrong), I see no harm in examining the political differences between our two democratic candidates.

Take a look at this clip of Sanders defending LGBT citizens in the military, dated back to 1995.

Years before LGBT issues would hit the mainstream, we see Sanders passionately defending gay soldiers who have served in the US military. Keep in mind, this was only one year after Bill Clinton signed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” into law, a move that only allowed gays in the military if they were closeted. The policy prohibited people who “demonstrate a propensity or intent to engage in homosexual acts” because their presence “would create an unacceptable risk to the high standards of morale, good order and discipline, and unit cohesion that are the essence of military capability.” Senator Sanders voted against this policy.

Some argue that Sanders isn’t a true ally, as he supported civil unions in 2006. Interesting to note, however, is that he opposed the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). Perhaps his support of civil unions was simply in alignment with his “before-it-was-cool” stance of passionate support for the LGBT community? Perhaps he simply wanted to extend whatever opportunity was available to us at the time?

On the other hand, we have seen some serious missteps from Hillary Clinton in regard to the LGBT community. It is often said that her reversal on gay marriage came too late, and was done only for political gain. Also, who could forget last month when she spoke incorrectly about the Regan’s involvement with the HIV/AIDS crisis? In fairness, she did offer any apology, one that seemed highly disingenuous, if you ask me:

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Hillary’s comment was clearly deliberate and intentioned. That is not what misspeaking is. That’s called misinformation.

In fairness, once Hillary turned the corner on the issue of gay marriage, she became a very vocal and prominent supporter. What we cannot forget, however, is how vastly different her stance was in 2004:

The best broadcast I have discovered, which gives a fair and in-depth look at Clinton’s LGBT history, can be found here:

http://www.wnyc.org/story/tale-tape-hillary-clintons-gay-evolution/

So, again, let me be clear. I am not trashing Hillary. I am also clearly stating that if she does receive the nomination, we need to vote for her. What I am saying, however, is that as it stands, Bernie Sanders deserves the gay vote. And with his recent victories, and vastly rising support, he may not have a “delegate problem” when it comes time to select our candidate. We support Bernie Sanders and we thank him for his lifelong support for the LGBT community.

LGBT Rights: Hillary Clinton vs Bernie Sanders

Sanders-vs-Clinton1In case some of you missed the first democratic debate last Tuesday, allow me to bring you up to speed. It was not the moronic shit-show we are used to with the Republican debates, and instead was an engaging, interesting discussion between mostly intelligent people. While I would encourage everyone to watch the entire debate, if you are pressed for time, I recommend at least catching up on the greatest moments below.

I don’t know about anyone else, but in the past, I’ve loathed the presence of LGBT questions at many different debates, as it seemingly always results in at least one candidate’s homophobia being put on display. This debate was different, however. There was very little mention of the LGBT community at all. I believe the reason for this is that it is understood that each democratic candidate is a champion of LGBT rights, at this point.

Who can forget Hillary’s infamous 2011 speech in Geneva, when she called for global support for the LGBT community. Still, Clinton is often criticized for being “late to the game” on supporting same-sex marriage. The Economist called her move a “belated conversion” and deemed it “cautious to the point of cowardice.” Still, Hillary has since offered her full support, and I stand with many in the LGBT community who have watched our own family and friends evolve over time, understanding that doesn’t always happen overnight.

Representative Bernie Sanders, however, has been a longtime, fervent supporter, long before LGBT rights were even a hot-button issue. Check out a letter he published in the early 1970’s where he called for further LGBT support:
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So, with Hillary’s initial lack of support and change of heart, naturally people begin to question her authenticity. “You know, somebody is always first,” Clinton told NPR in 2013. “Somebody’s always out front and thank goodness they are. But that doesn’t mean that those who joined later in being publicly supportive or even privately accepting that there needs to be change are any less committed. You could not be having the sweep of marriage equality across our country if nobody changed their mind. And thank goodness so many of us have.”

Currently, on both candidate’s websites, you can check out where they stand on LGBT issues, and it seems they are both aligned. Now that gay marriage has been voted a constitutional right, it is now a focus to end discrimination with housing and employment. It is true that Sanders was lightyears ahead of Hillary on that issue, but they have both certainly ended up in the same place, and they are running for president now, not in previous decades.

What I am most impressed by is what solid supporters and allies we have in these candidates. It was lovely to watch a debate and not have to worry that in some way, one of the candidates was going to decimate the LGBT community. Instead, we could go in knowing that each candidate will champion support, and ultimately our decisions can come down to other issues including race relations, gun control, environment, etc. Such a sweet relief from the homophobic, racist, sexist circuses that are the republican debates.

Subsidizing discrimination: Christian schools and their tax-exempt status

Courtesy Shutterstock

This week 17 year old Austin Wallis was forced to either deny he’s gay or find a new high school. In his viral YouTube video, Wallis explains that his Lutheran high school forced him to leave because he was gay. They gave the popular YouTube blogger a choice: he could either go back into the closet by removing all evidence he’s gay from social media or he would be expelled. So he left.

This story, as tragic as it is, raises the question: why are we giving tax breaks to discriminatory Christian schools?

Lutheran High North (LHN) is run by Lutheran Education Association of Houston (LEAH) which is filed as a 501(c)(3). That means the school is able to function as a non-profit with all the tax shelters that come with it while discriminating against its students in whatever way it sees fit on religious grounds.

In the U.S. it’s the status quo for Christian schools to be tax-exempt. They either fall under the umbrella of a host church which is tax-exempt under federal law, or they apply for their own tax exempt status as an independent religious entity.

It seems absurd that a tax-exempt school would able to enforce moral clauses that, in the case of LHN, declare that the school “reserves the right, within its sole discretion, to refuse admission of an applicant and/or to discontinue enrollment of a current student participating in, promoting, supporting or condoning: pornography, sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bisexual activity; or displaying an inability or resistance to support the qualities and characteristics required of a Biblically based and Christ-like lifestyle.”

And it seems illegal. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, sex, religion, and national origin. By requiring its students to identify with a particular brand of Christianity (see the moral clause above) or to otherwise face expulsion, the school would appear to be breaking the “religion” clause of the federal anti-discrimination laws.

There are similarities here to the Ken Ham Ark Encounter story. In case you haven’t been following, Ken Ham from Answers in Genesis is trying to build a Noah’s Ark theme park in Kentucky. Originally, the for-profit venture was depending on $18,000,000 of Kentucky tax payer money as part of that State’s tourism tax incentives. Then it was discovered that the Ark Encounter was taking part in discriminatory hiring practices in that they refused to hire applicants who are gay or non-Christian. As a result they lost their anticipated tourism tax incentives and all was right in the world.

Similar to the Ark Encounter scenario, if a Christian school is to require a student to adhere to a particular brand of Christianity, the school should be stripped of its tax-exempt status. Their thoughts on morality are their business, but when they receive tax breaks while forcing those religious views on others, it becomes our business. It should be obvious that no tax paying citizen should be made to subsidize discrimination and homophobia by bearing the burden of tax-exemptions awarded to these religious, anti-LGBT institutions.

Pat Robertson: Did molestation or movies make your daughter a lesbian?

Another day, another bat-shit crazy televangelist. I know these come a dime a dozen, and that a majority of people listening to Pat Robertson’s remarks would be appalled, but I find it worthwhile to call out this blatant ignorance. After all, it could only result in making these extreme religious viewpoints look more ridiculous to more people, which can only be a good thing.

This week, Pat Robertson had some serious advice to give to a concerned mother of a twenty-one year old woman who announced she was in a lesbian relationship. “(She) was always very feminine. This came out of nowhere!” wrote the concerned parent. Naturally, Robertson had some interesting words for this mother, which aligned perfectly with his history of total ignorance and idiocy. “I think she needs somebody to help her get her identity straight,” Robertson offered. “She may not be right in this. She may have thought she had a crush on some older girl along the way and that she is actually homosexual when she is not. I don’t know… The whole question of sexuality identity has gotten so blurred in the press these days it’s hard to know… but why is she that way? Was she molested when she was younger?”

It was at this point that the interviewer chimed in with “… Sometimes just in the world today, you know they’re telling kids to explore. It’s crazy.”

Robertson continued: “Girl on girl movies, more and more… They’re getting straight actors to play lesbians and straight men to play homosexuals. And if you say anything against homosexuality, you are just hooted out of court. But I do think you need to love your daughter and give her a chance to work this out. Because if she is deeper and deeper in it, sooner or later she’s gonna be disillusioned and she’s gonna say ‘This is wrong and I want to come out of it.’”

This is not the first time we’ve heard Pat Robertson weigh-in on homosexuality. In 2009, a similar question was asked by the parents of a gay son. “First of all, I’m not at all persuaded that so-called homosexuals are homosexuals because of biological problems,” Robertson stated. “There may be a very few, but there’s so many that have been made homosexual because of a coach or a guidance counselor, or some other male figure who may have abused them, and they think there’s something wrong with their sexuality.” Robertson went on to suggest that the parents continue to love their son because “Well, I mean, if somebody’s on their way to hell, they’ll… I mean, you’ve got to love them to rescue them.”

What we see here is a classic example of one’s religion enabling them to ignore logic and instead spew hate-speech that they deem holy. This is the same man who has called the separation of church and state “insane,” has repeatedly claimed that natural disasters were god’s punishment for various things including abortion, and has claimed that all non-Christian religions worship “demonic powers.” This man also claimed that Mitt Romney would win the 2012 Presidential election because “the lord told him.”

It seems as though whatever lord Pat Robertson is speaking with seems to continuously get it wrong, doesn’t it?

In the same sense that religious extremists don’t need to justify their belief system to me, I find it absolutely unnecessary to justify my homosexuality to anybody. Especially when we are looking at the dichotomy and the logical fallacies that exist so prominently in their arguments. Robertson states “(Your twenty-one year old daughter) may have thought she had a crush on some older girl along the way and that she is actually homosexual when she is not…”

First of all, I find it interesting that Robertson inferred that the young woman had a crush on an “older girl.” At no point was it ever even implied that the young woman was dating or wanting to date an older woman. Secondly, I am hearing more and more about these Christian conservatives acknowledging homosexuality and claiming acceptance, except when it comes to their own family. Maybe she thinks she is actually homosexual when she is not? That implies that there is a group of people who are “actually homosexual,” but god forbid it be your daughter. No – your daughter, who was brought up in the church, knows better and is exempt from potentially being homosexual because her religion forbids it.

As for his claim that there are more and more “girl on girl movies” and that “they’re getting straight actors to play lesbians and straight men to play homosexuals,” that is correct. Homosexuality is a real thing that is being depicted as a real thing in our media. If the media had any effect on sexual orientation, then I suppose there is no question that myself and every other gay person would have grown up straight, considering there has been heterosexuality expressed in every single movie since the beginning of time, right?

Finally, the absurd falsehood that homosexuals must have been sexually abused is entirely unfounded. In fact, each single study done on the matter has concluded that there seems to be no greater incidence of sexual abuse in the LGBT community. I’m sure this is what the lord would want you to do, however. Find a way to link homosexuality to perversion. How wonderfully Christian of you.

Is anybody else growing entirely weary of heterosexual crazies offering their opinions on homosexuality? We’ve established they are as off-base as everything else that comes out of their mouths. I find, personally, that watching the slow, painful death of this glorified bigotry is actually quite entertaining.

Daniel Ashley Pierce: LGBT Homelessness and the Word of God


If you have seen the viral YouTube video of twenty-year-old Daniel Ashely Pierce coming out to his family, you will know just how incredibly disturbing and disgusting it is… A dark reminder that even in our world today, coming out can be one of the most awful things a young gay person experiences. I think we can all agree that our teenage years and early adulthood is a very tender time for everybody. Discovering who you are and uncovering certain truths about life and the world is incredibly sobering and often disconcerting. Bullying is a real thing – it is not simply a gas in the air, and that bullying doesn’t only happen on the schoolyard. It also happens in homes. It can come directly from the people who are supposed to be the most supportive and loving figures in your life. Yet, all it takes is this almighty “word of god” and suddenly certain people feel they can justify everything – including abusing and abandoning their own son.

Not only was young Daniel berated and shamed for being gay, he was also physically assaulted and forced to move from his parent’s home. Does this sound familiar? Unfortunately, it should. In 2012, research indicated that 40% of homeless youth served by agencies identify as LGBT. An astonishing 43% of drop-in shelter clients identify as LGBT. In addition, 86% of LGBT people report having been verbally harassed at school for their sexual orientation. So, along with the adversity these young people face for being gay, they also now face the social stigma of being homeless. It seems this “word of god” is really incredibly harmful.

It seems a common debate has risen surrounding whether or not homosexuality is a choice. I’ve blogged previously about where scientific research currently stands on this, but ultimately – I am not personally interested in justifying my homosexuality with “it wasn’t my choice.” It is unfortunate that people feel the need to step back from homosexuality instead of embracing it and being unapologetic. We can also make the strong case that identifying as Christian is a choice. Identifying as a homophobe is a choice. But it seems to me that we are completely missing the mark in this conversation. This family abused their son both physically and verbally, and we are still sitting here trying to debate whether or not homosexuality is a choice? It doesn’t matter. This family abused and abandoned their son. End of discussion.

It seems apparent to me in this situation, and in situations I’ve experienced personally, that these anti-LGBT family members actually feel as though they are doing the right thing. They feel they are “honoring the word of god,” and balking at any sense of reason in the process. I’ve heard people justify this hatred with quips like “He’s just trying to do the right thing.” Let me ask you… would we ever look at what Hitler did and think “He was just trying to do the right thing?” Would we allow for any kind of justification of this blatant anti-semitism which resulted in a genocide that killed six million Jewish people? It doesn’t matter how well-intentioned Hitler might have considered himself, what he was doing was terribly wrong. The parents depicted in this video showed blatant disregard for their son, attacking him and making him yet another young LGBT homeless person. There is no justification for this. Not even your precious bible.

After this video went viral, donations collected on the Internet to help young Daniel with living expenses amounted to over $50,000. While this is such a wonderful gesture, we have to understand that Daniel is not alone. In order for stories like Daniel’s to stop happening, many things need to change. I would encourage every gay person reading this to stop apologizing for themselves. I would like to commend Daniel for his bravery and tenacity against such horrible circumstances. And ultimately, I wish that the next time we want to dump an ice bucket on our heads, we could donate to a charity that supports homeless people, including LGBT homeless people.

To donate: http://nationalhomeless.org/issues/lgbt/

Also, you can watch the video below. It contains obscene language and violence.

Bob McDonnell: The Hypocrisy. The Hilarity.


Bob McDonnell, the republican governor of Virginia, and his wife Maureen, were indicted on federal corruption charges in January 2014 and are currently standing trial. These charges were brought forth following a federal investigation which purported that McDonnell and his wife may have accepted over $165,000 in gifts from political donor Jonnie Williams, Sr, in exchange for political favors. While McDonnell has been quoted as saying he will fight these “false allegations,” he did, in fact, repay more than $120,000 to Williams in 2013 and apologized for bringing “embarrassment” to the state.

What is truly fascinating, however, is the embarrassment McDonnell is still bringing. A key defense in his corruption trial is feigning ignorance, and placing much of the responsibility on his wife, claiming he had no idea where such lavish gifts were coming from. On trial, however, it has been noted that McDonnell was well aware of where most of the cash was coming from, along with his numerous gulf trips, vacations, and sport-car rentals. To add to his embarrassing tactics, another central piece of his defense is that the governor’s marriage was so dysfunctional, there was no way they could have conspired together. He called the marriage “broken down” and stated they were “barely on speaking terms.” The prosecutor was quick to point out, however, that the former first couple was able to go on 18 vacations together in just 22 months.

In the wake of self-professed marital dysfunction, I think it is important to take a look at Bob McDonnell’s track record. In his controversial 1989 Regent University thesis, entitled The Republican Party’s Vision for the Family: The Compelling Issue of The Decade, McDonnell advocated “covenant marriage,” blasted feminists and working women as “detrimental to the family,” and surmised that “government policy should favor married couples over ‘cohabitators, homosexuals or fornicators.” When the thesis went viral in 2009, McDonnell detached from it stating “Virginians will judge me on my 18-year record as a legislator and attorney general and the specific plans I have laid out for our future — not on a decades-old academic paper I wrote as a student during the Reagan era and haven’t thought about in years.” What is interesting to note, however, is that throughout his tenure in public office, McDonnell has pursued at least ten of the policy goals outlined in his thesis, including abortion restrictions, covenant marriage, school vouchers, and tax policies that favor heterosexual marriages.

Governor McDonnell earned the monikers “Governor Vagina” and “Governor Ultrasound” for his fervent support of trans-vaginal ultrasound requirements for women considering abortion. Following public protest, however, the governor chose to instead favor slightly less invasive abdominal ultrasounds, granting exemptions in the case of incest and rape, so long as it was reported to police. That same year, McDonnell vetoed HB 399, which sought to improve neonatal care by fast-tracking implementation of newborn screening for life-threatening congenital heart malformations. So, yes, the man who has pushed legislation to limit grounds for divorce, and has essentially made every move to restrict marital and reproductive rights for couples, is blaming his corruption scandal on marital dysfunction. But oh, wait… It gets even better.

McDonnell has a strong track record of homophobia (which I’m sure you could have guessed, at this point). In fact, one of his very first acts as governor was to rescind an order enacted by his democratic predecessor, which prohibited discrimination based on sexual orientation. He criticized a 1965 Supreme Court decision which legalized the use of contraceptives, stating “man’s basic nature is inclined towards evil, and when the exercise of liberty takes the shape of pornography, drug abuse, or homosexuality, the government must restrain, punish, and deter.” Yet now that his marriage is in “shambles,” McDonnell has testified that he is currently staying with a priest at a local rectory, Rev. Wayne Ball of St. Patrick’s Catholic Church. What is interesting about Rev. Ball is that he was arrested in 2002 for “frequenting a bawdy place.” The priest, along with his male counterpart, pled guilty to a misdemeanor sex offense. The charges were dropped after both men completed 80 hours of community service. Rev. Ball was assigned to a different church.

So, basically, it’s hard to even digest the amount of corruption and controversy that surrounds this trial, and each day it just seems to become more hypocritical – and more hilarious. To be fair, however, I think the closing words should be granted to Rev. Wayne Ball, who blamed his gay sex scandal on a “bout of depression” and has defended McDonnell to the bitter end: “Is there any person at all who would want to stand up in public and tell the whole truth about their life?”

Umm…?